PITTSBURGH – Wandy Rodriguez’s fastball had abandoned him just in time to potentially ruin an otherwise fabulous night.
There were no such problems with his curveball.
Rodriguez struck out Brent Lillibridge on a knee-locking full-count bender with the bases loaded in the seventh, and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ revamped bullpen closed out a 3-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
The veteran left-hander allowed just two hits over 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out six, none bigger than the 76 mph curve he threw to Lillibridge to end a 10-pitch battle with one down.
He’s a pro, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. That’s a pro’s pitch. No kid is going to throw that pitch.
Edwin Jackson gave up two runs in five innings but lost to the Pirates for the first time in seven career starts. The Cubs produced just two singles and only put a runner on third once.
Pittsburgh took its first lead of the season when Garrett Jones led off the fourth with a single and McCutchen followed with a double to the corner in left. McCutchen came home when Gaby Sanchez’s sharp grounder rolled under the glove of shortstop Starlin Castro.
NATIONALS 3, MARLINS 0: In Washington, left-hander Gio Gonzalez homered, providing all the offense necessary to back his six scoreless innings as Washington won its second straight.
Gonzalez (1-0), a 21-game winner in 2012 who finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting, allowed only two hits, along with five strikeouts and two walks.
METS 8, PADRES 4: In New York, Matt Harvey allowed one hit and struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings for his first win at Citi Field, and Lucas Duda hit the first of the Mets’ three homers.
John Buck and Ike Davis also connected against homer-prone Clayton Richard.
BRAVES 9, PHILLIES 2: In Atlanta, Freddie Freeman had three RBI and Justin Upton homered to back Paul Maholm’s solid start to lead Atlanta.